Longueville Manor chapel and colombier

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Longueville Manor, Chapel and Colombier


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This article by Charles Langton was first published in the 1930 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise


The Manor was originally surrounded by a wall, forming a quadrangular court facing the public road, containing the dower house and porter’s lodge, and conformed to the usual manorial scheme instituted for the safety of the Seignorial tenants. The round arched gateway still remains.

Any original remains?

It is very doubtful if any portion of the original manor exists today — minor records are extant of additions in the early part of the 17th century, but, latterly, the manor was allowed to fall into decay until Bateman, in 1863, undertook his scheme of reconstruction.

The facade possesses a fine granite doorway of the early 16th century, with the arms of the unfortunate Hostes Nicolle. The Diary of Benjamin La Cloche records the erection of the gable over the drawing room in July 1631, but this work does not seem to have been completed until 1637, when the corner stones, then being placed in front of the roof of the new gable, fell with disastrous results to the masons working on it.

The initials of George La Cloche and his wife (1665-81) appear on a corbel at the west end. There is a tradition that the manor was originally a nunnery and it is quite probable that it had religious connections at some time, as the pediments of the stone archway in the dining room are ornamented with crosses — a unique local feature. The manorial front was partly pulled down in 1813 for the insertion of modern windows — the fine granite mouldings being taken out to be replaced by brick surrounds. The thatched roof, however, remained, as tiles were not substituted until about l860.

The grounds of the manor contained the Chapel of St Thomas, the Colomberie, and a famous mineral spring, in the meadow above the ponds, which attracted people from great distances anxious to benefit from its medicinal virtues. Bateman employed the services of a chemical analyst from England, a Dr Miller, who pronounced the spring as of considerable value and strongly advised its commercial exploitation. This was never attempted nor any preliminary work undertaken.

Chapel

The Chapel, dedicated to St Thomas, is mentioned in the Assize Boll of 1309, when Reginald Hubert, parson of the Chapel of Longueville, with other priests, assisted in the rescue of Pierre Falaise, Dean of Jersey, from prison, to which he had been committed by the Itinerant Justices for having excommunicated all persons who obeyed the proclamations these Justices had issued.

It is curious to note that at the division of the property in 1367, the chapel remained with Raoul Lemprière, but the presentation to the cure and the maintenance of the edifice were given to Guilles Payn.

The next mention of the chapel appears in the deed of partition of 10 August 1493, when a stipulation was added that a mass was to be maintained according to the foundation of John Nicolle.

De La Croix stated that it was confiscated and sold in 1501 by the Royal Commissioners for the disposal of ecclesiastical property. It was declared vacant on 25 February 1505 through the death of the chaplain Jean Dolbel, who also had the cure of St Martin Grouville, and was conferred the same day on Nicholas Dolbel, prêtre, sur la presentation de Thomas Lemprière, Tuteur et Curateur des enfants d’un étranger à l’ile, nommé Nicolle, en son vivant, seigneur temporal de Longueville.

On 29 April 1523 the Chaplaincy was conferred on Thomas Harvey, priest, after the death of Nicholas Dolbel, on the presentation of John Nicolle, Seigneur of Longueville.

In later centuries the chapel fell into disuse. Poingdestre in 1682 says it was then standing entire and it is evident that most of it was still there at the beginning of the 19th century, because Bateman records the fact, adding that it was pulled down about 1813, the material being used to repair the delapidations of the various adjacent buildings.

Colombier

An account of the Colombiers of Jersey was published in the Bulletin for 1928. The special privilege of possession, granted as a Seignorial honour, was later modified by an extension favouring the eldest sons of Seigneurs, who were permitted to construct holes in the facade of their houses for the nesting of pigeons. The Colombier of Longueville is mentioned in the Rôle d’Assize of 1299. It had fallen into ruin at the end of the 17th century, when special permission by the Royal Court was granted to George La Cloche, who in 1692 rebuilt it in the garden of St Thomas to the north of the Manor, where it still remains.

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